Disney+ is making some changes to its classic films. The streaming platform is adding content warnings to a handful of older titles in its library and flagging them for racial stereotyping, The Wrap reports. Now, films like 1953’s Peter Pan and the 1941 film Dumbo will come with a disclaimer before they start, warning home audiences of “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.”
Aside from Peter Pan and Dumbo, both The Aristocats, which was produced in 1970, and Swiss Family Robinson, from 1960, now have content warnings which are shown for 12 seconds before the start of each movie. The full text reads:
“This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe. To learn more about how stories have impacted society, please visit www.disney.com/StoriesMatter.”
While Disney+ has added content warnings before, this new addition marks the first time they’ve added one to the start of a film, instead of including a warning in the film’s description like they’d done before. The new disclaimer also provides specific instances of racist depictions, pointing to The Aristocats‘ character of Shon Gon, which Disney+ warns “is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples” and has “exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth.”
“He sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks,” the content warning adds. “This portrayal reinforces the ‘perpetual foreigner’ stereotype, while the film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture such as ‘Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookie always wrong.’”
The new additions come after another streaming platform, HBO Max, also added a content warning before one of its classic films, Gone With the Wind, this summer. While they initially removed the movie from their library, they later reinstated it with some new add-ons, including two disclaimers.
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